Vol 4 No 1 | Apr-Jun 2024


Story and art by Kavita Singh Kale


India: hunger statistics
In the 2023 Global Hunger Index (GHI), out of the 125 countries with sufficient data to calculate GHI scores, India was ranked 111th. With a score of 28.7, it is determined to have a level of Hunger that places the country in the Serious bracket.

A 2023 NITI Aayog report said that despite a large number of people having escaped poverty, as many as 74.1 percent of the Indian population cannot afford healthy food.

The government, as it has been with almost every non-partisan statistic (and even some from their own agencies), has downplayed these findings in various ways – that is obviously a simpler path than to try and find solutions to the problem. In fact, the Centre is so afraid of numbers that it has stopped conducting the Census that has always been the instrument for the implementation of all kinds of policy measures.


Internal migration
Migration within the country (from one state/region to another) is usually rooted in two interlinked causes – economic distress, and lack of access to food and other essential resources.

India’s internal migrants have been estimated to number 45.36 crore, a jaw-dropping 37% of the total population. Most of this is from villages and rural areas to urban centres. The gradual decline of agriculture as a means of living – brought on by skewed development – has meant that more and more people who were traditionally the country’s food producers have moved away into cities where they are either unemployed or working in job markets alien to them.



In-migration into Delhi
Given its central location among the northern states, Delhi is the focus of in-migration (people moving to the city) from all the other states. Many people, like the protagonists of this comic, get employment as drivers, household help, municipal staff; many others, though, unable to compete, become homeless or beggars, take to crime, or just give up and go back home to a meagre existence.



Langar and kar seva
Since the time of its founding, Sikhism has been a religion that pays a lot of attention to the idea of service. One of the ways this is done is through the kar seva – tasks related to the upkeep of gurudwaras and shrines, community welfare, etc – undertaken by the religion’s adherents and even people from other religions who connect with the idea.

A prime example of kar seva is langar – a daily activity involving the feeding of people. The kar sevaks undertake the process of preparing the food, serving it to anyone who sits down to eat, and cleaning up afterwards. No one is turned away from a langar, and so it often becomes the primary source of nutrition for those who can’t afford anything else.